The percentage of local high school students taking advanced and honors courses has increased since the 2016-2017, and increased from 2019 to 2020 even amid the pandemic, according to Flagler Schools.
Bobby Bossardet, the district’s assistant superintendent of academic services, noted the increase while presenting the district’s annual equity report during a School Board workshop on July 20.
The report tracks student participation in advanced classes across ethnic groups, particpation in sporting programs by gender, and measures how closely the district’s teaching and administrative staff mirror the demographics of the community.
The percentage of students taking advanced courses — such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Cambridge AICE, honors class or dual enrollment — has risen since 2016-2017 in each group measured, from 50% to 50.8% among white students, from 30.5% to 35.2% among black students, and from 45.5% to 46.6% among Hispanic students, he said.
Participation in AP, IB or AICE classes specifically increased in among white, black and Hispanic students with one exception: The percentage of black male students in those classes declined from 9% in the 2016-2017 school year to 7.9% in the 2019-2020 school year. The overall percentage of black students enrolled in those classes increased slightly, from 9% to 10.8%, but trailed the participation of white students (20.9%) and Hispanic students (18%).
Board member Janet McDonald asked about expanding the use of a middle-school version of grade point averages to elementary school students to help prepare them.
Bossardet said that was a possibility, and has seemed to benefit middle schoolers by helping them understand how GPA works and how GPA could impact their eligibility for athletic programs and scholarship opportunities.
The district is in compliance with all requirements for gender equity in athletics, he said.
The district’s employment data showed that black and Hispanic educators are under-represented in Flagler Schools relative to the demographics of the student population.
“As far as the employment equity, I think that needs to be at the forefront of some of our decisions that we make when it comes to hiring,” Bossardet said.
He said the district has been communicating with Bethune-Cookman University, a historically black university, about bringing in more interns from the school.